Friday, April 18, 2014

Living up to the hype

All week long, I told you that Thursday night's Red Sox game against the White Sox was 'must-see TV,' and after seeing this pitcher's duel play out, it's evident that it was indeed worth watching

The Red Sox defeated the White Sox 3-1, and both Jon Lester and Chris Sale were dominant.

On Friday's show, I reacted to how it played out, while looking back at what's happened so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Barstool Sports' Rear Admiral joined the show to talk playoff hockey and to help give one final preview to the Boston Bruins' first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Signs of encouragement

Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller pitched two shutout innings out of the bullpen on Wednesday night in Chicago, and was a major reason Boston even had a chance to win the game in the 14th inning

The Red Sox still aren't hitting the way they'd like, but outside of Edward Mujica in this game, their bullpen put on their work boots on Wednesday and proved to be the most encouraging sign for a team that's looking to get back to .500.

On Thursday's show, I praised the likes of Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Miller for giving the Red Sox a chance to tie the game and send it to extra innings, where they ended up winning it in the 14th.

I also looked at the first night of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and looked ahead to the now-official NBA playoff brackets.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Errors costly for Sox in Chicago

Xander Bogaerts made a costly throwing error in the bottom of the ninth on Tuesday night, but he's not the only one to blame in the Red Sox' loss to the Chicago White Sox

You also have to blame the umps for blowing a potential inning-ending strike-three call in the ninth. And of course, Mike Carp should have caught the bad throw from Bogaerts.

I opened Wednesday's show reacting to the loss, and taking a look at another solid outing from Jake Peavy.

Also, I reacted to the clown who decided to place a backpack on Boylston Street on Tuesday night, which made it awfully difficult to enjoy watching the Red Sox game.

I closed out the show taking a look at the Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Even Stronger

One year ago, David Ortiz helped console an entire city, following the tragic events at the Boston Marathon, and on Tuesday, we all reflect on the day Boston was attacked by cowards

The phrase was "Boston Strong." The memories that accompany that phrase include many emotions.

And when people needed someone to help in the healing process, Big Papi grabbed the mic and poured his heart out at Fenway. It was just one of the many examples of how important Boston's pro sports teams were in the days, weeks, and months following the Boston Marathon bombings.

On Tuesday's show, I looked back to last year's marathon and tried to re-capture the moments that helped everyone heal.

I also looked ahead to the Red Sox' series in Chicago, and reacted to some of the comments that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made on Monday.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Faith in the system?

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected from Sunday's loss to the Yankees, and while he criticized the league's replay system after the game, perhaps in this situation the umps got the call right

After reviewing a potential inning-ending double play in the fourth, the initial call was overturned and the runner was ruled safe at first, giving New York the eventual game-winning run that scored from third on the play.

You already know that I hate the new replay system. But I think they got the call right on Sunday night. Instead, the Red Sox should be upset at some of their own decisions in losing three of four games in the Bronx over the weekend.

I reacted to the entire series on Monday's show. And Comcast SportsNet's Mike Giardi joined me to chime in.

Plus, I gave my Stanley Cup Playoff predictions. And my final thoughts on Bubba Watson winning his second Green Jacket.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Pineda's pine tar

Michael Pineda picked up his first win of the season on Thursday night in six strong innings against the Boston Red Sox, but the story of the game wasn't his nasty slider

The story was the obvious pine tar that was smeared all over the palm of Pineda's throwing hand and glistening for the cameras to see.

Key word: "obvious."

I gave my reaction to the use of pine tar on Friday's show. I also discussed what went right and what went wrong for Clay Buchholz in the loss to New York.

And while the Red Sox were wise to say all the right things regarding Pineda's pine tar, a story broke Friday morning that shows a few Boston players are complaining about something else. And that "something else" is PED's.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ready for the Bronx?

Clay Buchholz leads the way for the Boston Red Sox in New York on Thursday night, and he'll need to be a whole lot better than he was in his first start of the season

On Thursday's show, I previewed the four-game series against the Yankees, and called for Jackie Bradley Jr to not just stay in the starting lineup, but to also play center field, and slide Grady Sizemore over to left field.

I also reacted to the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday at Fenway, which included a big-time home run from David Ortiz in the bottom of the eighth.

And an early look at the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Is the new format meant for more divisional rivalries in the postseason? Or are the new set playoff brackets strictly for gambling purposes?

Listen to "I'm Just Sayin" every weekday by subscribing on iTunes (refresh in iTunes to download latest show).


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Odd man out

 Mike Carp has been a valuable piece to the Red Sox since being traded to Boston before last season, but with a potentially overloaded roster forthcoming, somebody has to go

In a perfect world, Mike Carp remains a member of the Boston Red Sox for the rest of the 2014 season. But a Major League roster consists of only 25 players. So, as the Red Sox will soon find out, the world is anything but perfect.

The impending return of Shane Victorino from the 15-day disabled list means that somebody has to go, plain and simple.

Assuming that David Ortiz stays off the DL (he's been favoring his right leg recently), when Victorino gets back, the Red Sox will have one too many outfielders on their 25-man Major League roster.

When all are healthy, Victorino, Grady Sizemore, Jackie Bradley Jr, Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes, and Carp are the six players in Boston who are outfield-ready. Of those six, only Nava and Carp can play first base.

Do you really need two outfielders who serve as backup first basemen?

Believe it or not, at the conclusion of spring training, that's the way the Red Sox had set their 25-man roster. Instead of moving either Nava or Carp, they chose to send Bradley Jr down to Triple-A Pawtucket.

As Victorino was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain the morning of the season-opener in Baltimore, the veteran right fielder was placed on the DL, and Bradley Jr was called back up to join the team.

Initially, Bradley Jr was really the only story here: A top prospect who had a cup of coffee in Boston last year, destined to be the long-term replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury in both center field and at the top of the Red Sox batting order.

Was he ready? Heck, did the Red Sox even need him to be ready?

The answer to those questions, initially, was, "No," in the minds of those making the decisions. That's why they sent him back down to the minors at the very end of spring training.

Sizemore's resurgence didn't help Bradley Jr's chances of making the big club. But the Red Sox would have been crazy not to take a chance on Sizemore if he could stay healthy and produce. He's done both. And nine games into the regular season, Sizemore is hitting .364 with eight hits, two doubles, and a home run in seven games as Boston's starting center fielder.

Now though, nine games into the regular season, Bradley Jr has played in eight of those games, and has been in the starting lineup for seven of them. He's hitting .400 with eight hits, two doubles, five RBI, and five runs scored.

Small sample size, sure. But along with his confidence at the plate (he walked three times in Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers) Bradley Jr has also shown his speed on the base paths, and has proved to be an above-average outfielder with great instincts. And that's exactly what he was projected to be. His success shouldn't come as a surprise.

Certainly, Bradley Jr is no longer the story here. He's not just earned himself a permanent spot on the 25-man Major League roster, but Bradley Jr is also making it extremely tough for Red Sox manager John Farrell to take him out of the every day lineup.

Even against left-handed pitching.

Entering their four-game series against the New York Yankees in the Bronx, which begins Thursday night, Bradley Jr got the start in two consecutive games against lefty starters to close out the previous series against the Rangers.

So as Victorino gets set to attempt a return (he's eligible to come off the DL April 15), the Red Sox will have a decision to make.

That leads us back to Carp.

If Sizemore and Bradley Jr aren't going anywhere -- which they shouldn't -- then the only way to make room for Victorino would be to do something with either Gomes, Nava, or Carp.

Let's be honest and not waste any time on Gomes. We all know he's not going anywhere.

So the decision is really between Nava and Carp. Both can play the outfield. Both can play first base. But that's pretty much where the similarities end. At the end of the day, this decision will come down to value. Value to the Red Sox, and value in the trade market.

Nava can hit from both sides of the plate, and he can be used in the lead-off spot, when needed. His season hasn't been very good out of the gate, but for someone who hit .303 in 134 games last year, the Red Sox shouldn't be willing to give up on someone who has shown as much perseverance as he has throughout his career.

Carp, the age of 27 (turns 28 in June), is three years younger than Nava. He hits strictly from the left side of the plate. His power potential is greater than Nava's. And the argument can be made that if Ortiz ever went down with an injury, Carp could be someone to assume that designated hitter role.

But we're having this conversation as if Ortiz is healthy. And even if Ortiz did go down at any point, it wouldn't be the end of the world if Napoli and/or Nava split time at DH and first base.

So it seems that, for the Red Sox, Nava has more valuable qualities than Carp. Meaning, Carp should be the odd man out. When Victorino is ready to return, Carp needs to be the guy to go.

Still in his late 20's, Carp would be more valuable in a trade than Nava. And the Red Sox would probably be able to get more in return for Carp. What's best for another team, might not be what's best for the Red Sox.

As I said on Wednesday's show on iTunes (RIP Ultimate Warrior-4/9/14), this idea that the Red Sox should send Bradley Jr back down to the minors when Victorino is healthy, because they NEED to hold onto Carp, is OUTRAGEOUS.

Think about what you're saying. You're falling in love with Mike Carp.

I even said this on Wednesday's show and in shows prior, I'm not here to run an anti-Carp campaign. That's not my goal.

My goal is to try and make the most logical decision for the Red Sox, if I had to put myself in the shoes of general manager Ben Cherington.

In a perfect world, in which 26-man rosters exist, Carp remains in Boston. But that's not the case.

Plain and simple, Carp has to go.


Remembering the Ultimate Warrior

 Just days after returning to WrestleMania and being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame over the weekend, the legendary Ultimate Warrior passed away at the age of 54

Upon hearing this shocking news, I closed out Wednesday's show with an Ultimate Warrior tribute, which included a classic promo from the former WWF (yes, I said "WWF") champion.

Also on the show, I reacted to the Boston Red Sox' 10-7 loss to the Texas Rangers. And with some upcoming roster decisions to be made, I put myself in the shoes of Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, and discussed what I would do as some key injured players get ready to return.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Making his case

Jackie Bradley Jr had another all-around impressive night in a 5-1 win over the Rangers on Monday, but as Shane Victorino gets closer to a return from the DL, the Red Sox will have a decision to make

I mean, you already know how I feel.

Bradley Jr should have been on the Major League roster to begin with. Fortunately for him, Victorino's hamstring injury opened up a spot for the young outfielder. And he hasn't disappointed.

On Tuesday's show, Providence Journal Red Sox beat writer Brian MacPherson joined me to discuss what the future holds for Bradley Jr when Victorino returns.

And I continue to push for Bradley Jr to remain, not just with the team, but in the lineup.

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Fit for a King

David Ortiz's introduction during Friday's World Series ring ceremony was one of the only highlights for the Boston Red Sox over the weekend, as they were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers in three games at Fenway Park

On Monday's show, I looked back at the weekend that was at Fenway, and looked ahead to the Red Sox' three-game set against the Texas Rangers.

Also on the show, I talked Bruins, gave a National Championship prediction, and yes, even reacted to WrestleMania XXX.

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Friday, April 04, 2014

Time for Red Sox to stick with the kids

Jackie Bradley Jr didn't disappoint in his first start of the season on Thursday, and it's just a reminder as to why the Red Sox should make a strong effort to keep playing the "kids" in 2014

Those "kids" include Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, and yes, Bradley Jr.

All offseason I called for the Red Sox to "let the kids play." Not bringing Stephen Drew back to Boston has allowed John Farrell to go with Bogaerts and Middlebrooks every day. The re-emergence of Grady Sizemore's career has somewhat affected the plans for Bradley Jr, but the young outfielder got his first start of the season Thursday night in Baltimore, and the kid had a night for himself.

Also having nights for themselves were Bogaerts and Middlebrooks. All three of the "kids" helped the Red Sox to a 4-3 win over the Orioles.

Now, the question is, how do you find room for Bradley Jr? My answer to that question is, it doesn't matter. Just find room. And let the kids play.

I opened Friday's show with this topic, and also reacted to the Bruins' 4-3 OT loss in Toronto. Listen and subscribe to "I'm Just Sayin" on iTunes NOW.